Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens brings joy to over a thousand children in Mason and Manistee counties

MANISTEE — The 45th annual Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens distribution was held recently at the Scottville Optimist Club and the Manistee VFW Hall.

Shown are some of the gifts given out at the Manistee Veterans of Foreign Wars Walsh Post No. 4499 under the Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens program this holiday season.

Shown are some of the gifts given out at the Manistee Veterans of Foreign Wars Walsh Post No. 4499 under the Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens program this holiday season.

Once again, FiveCAP, Inc. partnered with Synergy Broadcasting Group to collect toys, gifts and cash donations to purchase toys for area children ages 0-18 years old.

“With higher utility bills, it can be very expensive this time of year for low-income families to additionally provide Christmas gifts for their children,” FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks said. “This program helps parents, who may otherwise not be able to afford gifts, to provide a merrier Christmas for their children.”

Thanks to the generosity of the Mason and Manistee communities, 1,007 area children received presents on Christmas morning. In Mason County, 186 families participated in the program with toys and gifts for 482 children. In Manistee County, 220 families participated in Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens and 525 children had presents under the tree.

In the weeks leading up to distribution, Trucks said she and the FiveCAP staff were inspired by the generosity of the community.

“Each year, it’s really heartwarming to see how people give to the program. It truly helps these parents make happy memories with their children,” she said.

From the abundant selection, parents were able to select age appropriate toys/gifts, stocking stuffers, and a family game for their children.

Sizable contributions to the Manistee County collection came from the Jingle Bell Jam fundraiser and Ramsdell Festival of Trees event during Sleighbell weekend, as well as Little River Casino employees, Arcadia Bluffs, and the Hi-Way Inn who each had several barrels full of toys.

In Mason County, Kenner McKie of Big “K” Construction made a generous cash contribution to buy toys and brought in four  bicycles which were given away in a drawing at the end of distribution for parents to pick up that Friday for an even merrier Christmas for their children.

And the Ludington Meijer showed their continuous support with a $5,000 contribution for shopping on that Monday to add to the toys already collected. The first 100 families also received the fixings for a holiday meal donated by the West Shore Bank Spirit of Giving program.

“These contributions are just to name a few”, said Trucks. “And we certainly cannot forget to thank our volunteers that helped with distribution and Santa’s elves from Interstate Glass who helped pick up the toys from area businesses.”

A big thank you to the Scottville Optimist Club and the Manistee VFW Walsh Post 4499 for their annual support and donation of space in hosting the distribution sites.

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